Freescale’s Smartbook Tablet shows up running Linux and Google Chromium OS

Freescale_smartbook_tablet_os_1 At the beginning of this year when Freescale revealed its Smartbook Tablet reference/concept design, there weren't any firm details regarding the choice of OS for the platform apart from it being Linux-based, with Google's Android and Chrome operating systems being put forward as possibilities.

But in a new video (see below) taken at the recent MWC by Charbax of ARM devices, the company shows off the Smartbook Tablet running the Chromium OS and a customized version of Linux called Mallos.

So far Google has stated that the Chrome OS and its development version Chromium are aimed at netbooks and smartbooks, with the possibility of support for other devices in the future. In the case of the Smartbook Tablet, Freescale showed a proof of concept device running a customized build of Chromium but without support for the tablet's 7" touch screen, using a USB mouse and keyboard instead. The software implementation was clearly at an early stage, but it looked to be running pretty well disregarding the very slow WiFi connection they were using. The end of the video also demonstrates an HTML5 video being played back on the tablet.

The version of the tablet running Mallos Linux looked to be more advanced in terms of development with more features and a more polished implementation. Making full use of the resistive touch screen, the Firefox web browser was shown and its Flash 10 capabilities were demonstrated by playing a short Avatar clip on YouTube. The Mallos tablet also had a decent selection of Google desktop gadgets and in-built applications including movie and music players, image viewer, document viewer, and IM client amongst others.

Although the Smartbook Tablet is only a proof of concept/OEM reference design, the demonstrations of Freescale's impressive hardware running a variety of operating systems bodes well for the future, giving OEM manufacturers a powerful, versatile platform to use in their MID products with an intended low price of around $200. As a reminder, the Smartbook Tablet uses the company's 1GHz i.MX515 processor based on the ARM Cortex A8 architecture. The processor also includes hardware graphics acceleration in the form of OpenVG and OpenGL/ES graphics cores and HD video decoding in hardware. Other specifications are 512MB of DDR2 RAM, between 4 to 64GB of internal storage, support for microSD cards, optional 3G connectivity, b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, and GPS.

After all the Android tablets we have been seeing recently running older ARM9 and ARM11-based CPUs, I'm hoping we get to see more options based on Freescale's Smartbook Tablet running various OS options later this year. So far we have only seen one product based on the hardware, the Prowave Android tablet phone that was also on display at the MWC last month. Check out the full video below for a closer look at the Smartbook Tablet running Chromium OS and Mallos Linux.

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Jeremy To

Jeremy is a former editor at Pocketables.

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